Doctor WTF? Doctor Who Accused Of Racism

By David Wharton | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

Well, this is one of those stories where I had to double check the byline to make sure it didn’t include the words “the Onion.” It seems that a new book collecting essays about Doctor Who has called the show “thunderously racist.” Why? Because there hasn’t yet been an Asian or black actor in the role of the Doctor, and, according to Digital Spy, the book claims the Doctor is “dismissive” of his black companions.

The book in question bears the ominous title of Doctor Who and Race, so we probably shouldn’t be surprised. The “thunderously racist” comment comes from the book’s editor, Lindy Orthia. The essays also pan the show for “outdated attitudes” and for portraying primitive cultures as “savages.” (Wait, are we sure this book wasn’t written by Q?)

Pictured: the terrible face of racism

Needless to say, the BBC had a few choice words in response. They call the claims “groundless” and “ridiculous,” pointing at the casting of Freema Agyeman and Noel Clarke in the roles of Martha Jones and Mickey Smith, respectively. They also insisted that “Doctor Who has a strong track record of diverse casting among both regular and guest cast.”

Not having read the book, I’m sure they must address the casting of those two since they were major parts of the show during their run, but I’m having a hard time seeing the Doctor’s alleged “dismissiveness.” I can’t think of an example of the Doctor giving Martha that sort of attitude at all, and while Mickey was often the butt of the joke, that came down to the content of his character, not the color of his skin.

So that leaves the complaints that the Doctor has only been played by white guys so far. That’s so dumb it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. Just because he hasn’t been played by an Asian or black actor doesn’t automatically mean that’s the result of some secret racist conspiracy at the BBC. Captain Kirk hasn’t been played by a black dude yet either, but I don’t see anybody accusing Paramount of throwing Klan rallies on the lot. There’s absolutely no reason why the Doctor couldn’t at some point be played by a black actor, or an Asian one, or a female for that matter. But the show’s producers shouldn’t have to cast specifically for diversity, just to salve the righteous indignation of a bunch of nimrods with too much time on their hands.

How about we just let the show focus on finding the right actors for the roles, regardless of their racial makeup? And as for the writers lobbing the accusations, I’ve got a lead for you guys. Man of Steel opens up next month, and I’ve heard the title role has never once been played by a Chirpa, Aborigine, or Sioux. I’ll leave you guys to your angry letter writing.